US prison in N. Louisiana on lockdown after fights

AP News
Posted: Jan 01, 2012 11:03 PM
US prison in N. Louisiana on lockdown after fights

The federal prison here was on lockdown Sunday night after fights broke out on New Year's Eve among inmates at the facility in rural north Louisiana.

Prison spokesman Steven Niles said the fighting broke out shortly before noon Saturday at the U.S. Penitentiary, the maximum-security segment of the federal prison complex there.

Niles said five prisoners were taken to local hospitals for treatment. By Sunday, he said, four had been returned to the prison. Injuries to the other inmate were not believed to be life-threatening. While he would not give details on the injuries, Niles said they were "consistent with fighting."

What caused the fight is still under investigation. Niles said a review of video inside the prison showed at least 15 inmates were involved, possibly more. "We're interviewing inmates to try to find out what happened," he said.

Niles said the fight broke out around 11:35 a.m. CST and prison staff had the situation under control within 15 minutes. No prison employees were injured, he said. "The situation was taken care of very quickly. There was never a threat to the public," Niles said.

When the facility is on lockdown, inmates are restricted to their living quarters, and routine institution activities _ including visitation _ are temporarily suspended.

The prison is in Grant Parish, about 15 miles north of Alexandria. It holds about 1,300 inmates and a staff of about 660 in several facilities.